A VOICE FROM WESTMINSTER
The UK Parliament returned from a short recess this week and on the first day back the Government faced a rebellion from senior backbenchers over its planned cuts to the overseas aid budget. At the time of writing we don’t know the result of the vote but it’s shameful that it’s even being considered. Britain is still one of the wealthiest places in the world. We can easily afford to give everyone here a decent standard of living and do our bit for the world’s poorest people. The Government prefers to spend money on a massive increase in its nuclear weapons arsenal, and on a new £200 million boat for the royal family while cutting financial support to the least well off in Britain.
This week I was speaking on legislation to provide compensation to people who lost their life savings in the collapse of London & Capital Finance plc. This is only one of several companies who have taken people’s pensions and savings, promised them good rates of interest, then went bust having lost all the money. I was supporting the London & Capital Finance (LCF) legislation but we also need compensation schemes for people who lost everything in other similar schemes. The Financial Conduct Authority had been warned at least three years earlier about a similar scheme but took no decisive action till it was too late, meaning that several hundred million pounds had vanished.
The UK National Audit Office is reviewing the work of the Child Maintenance service which is supposed to make sure that when parents split up the absent parent makes a fair financial contribution to their children. When the NAO have done their report it’s likely I’ll be able to question CMS officials on it at the Public Accounts Committee. As part of their review the NAO are asking people who have had experience of the CMS to complete an online survey. I know from my constituency casework that there are still huge problems within the system and I’d encourage anyone who’s had dealings with the CMS to take part in the survey. You can find it online here.
With a further easing of Covid restrictions in Fife last week many things are beginning to feel more like normal. Last week I was able to meet my entire constituency office team at the same time (outside) for the first time in 14 months. To keep things going in the right direction please continue to follow all the restrictions that are still in place. All being well I hope to be able to restart face to face surgeries over the summer as well as being able to meet local businesses and community organisations in person rather than video call.